While the unbeaten Memphis Grizzlies haven't had to face many obstacles, the injury-ravaged Oklahoma City Thunder haven't been able to catch a break.
The visiting Grizzlies try to extend the best start in team history and add to Oklahoma City's woes as these Western Conference foes square off Friday night in a rematch of last season's first-round playoffs series.
Memphis (5-0) went toe-to-toe with the Thunder before losing in seven games, four of which went to overtime. This one figures to have a very different feel with several key pieces out for Oklahoma City (1-4).
Aside from superstar Kevin Durant (foot), forwards Mitch McGary (foot) and Grant Jerrett (ankle), and guards Anthony Morrow (knee) and Jeremy Lamb (back) have missed all five games. All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook has missed the last three with a broken bone in his hand.
"We just have to be able to adjust," center Kendrick Perkins told the team's official website. "The main thing is playing hard and playing with effort, trying to get through it. ... We're just recovering and getting ready for Friday."
Andre Roberson's absence due to a sprained foot left Oklahoma City with eight active players heading into Tuesday's 100-88 loss at Toronto. Serge Ibaka had 25 points and 11 rebounds but the Thunder saw another man go down in Perry Jones, who had to be helped to the locker room with a knee injury.
"You want to give yourself a chance to win the game. That's by playing committed basketball with a lot of effort on both ends of the floor," coach Scott Brooks said. "Going forward, we have to keep doing that. We have a good group of guys who are willing to continue to play that way."
The Thunder, averaging 88.0 points and 27.2 percent shooting from 3-point range in their defeats, could be in for another long night against a Grizzlies team allowing an NBA-low 86.2 points per game. Memphis is averaging just 93.6 points on the other end but came out strong in Wednesday's 102-91 win at Phoenix - the only team with a winning record the Grizzlies have faced.
Mike Conley had 24 points and 11 assists and Courtney Lee scored 22 after missing two games with a concussion. Marc Gasol added 18 points, six assists and four steals as the Grizzlies scored 26 off 21 turnovers.
"We're really proud of our guys. We just played with a lot more force," coach Dave Joerger said. "We got contributions from a lot of different places. When we got stops and got rebounds we were able to get out and get some easy buckets which is difficult for us, which is great for us."
Conley finished 9 of 14 - including 3 of 4 from 3-point range - after shooting 25.6 percent over the previous three games.
"I'm just happy to have a complete game," he said. "I've been struggling there for a little bit and finally seeing the ball go in at the beginning helped with a lot of things."
Conley is averaging 10.8 points on 29.9 percent shooting in his last six road games against the Thunder, excluding playoffs.
Gasol leads Memphis with 21.6 points per game, significantly higher than his career mark of 13.6. He averaged 17.3 in last season's playoffs.
Ibaka is averaging a career-best 18.0 points and Reggie Jackson is also averaging 18.0 in two games since returning from an ankle injury.
The Thunder have taken three straight regular-season home meetings in the series while allowing an average of 91.0 points.